Buddha’s Blog: Commonwealth Games #5


Overall Hockey was the major winner at the Commonwealth Games. In articles on Stuff, The Herald and Hindustan Times Hockey was named the “Most compelling Sport” of the Commonwealth Games.

The venue was named the “Best Venue” of all the sports, with the “Nicest Stadium” and overall had the “Best atmosphere”.

The best game/event/spectacle of the Commonwealth Games was the India – Pakistan pool play clash. The game was at full capacity with 16,000 screaming fans packed into the Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium. Hockey consistently saw large crowds even for non-Indian games which was a complete reversal of the World Cup earlier in the year.

Even the non-hockey public in India and around the World were caught up in the emotion and class of the game. India eventually ran out 7-4 winners.

Then to top things off both the Men’s and Women’s teams medalled at the XIX Commonwealth Games. This was the first major medals for the women (1998 Bronze Kuala Lumpur) and the men (2002 Silver in Manchester).

This was a great achievement for Hockey in NZ and to have both teams do so well bodes extremely well for the future of the sport especially leading into the 2012 London Olympics.


The Blackstick’s Men righted some previous wrongs against England by taking an unassailable 5-3 lead in a penalty shoot out to win Bronze. It was all smiles for the NZ boys where the English were left to rue consecutive 4th place finishes at the last 2 Commonwealth Games.

The scores were tied 3-3 after regulation time and through Golden Goal Extra-time, before leading to a penalty shoot-out.

Goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex was the hero of the moment as he saved a penalty from English player Scott Dixon.

In an open game in which there was plenty of goalmouth action at both ends, Pontifex had his best performance of the tournament, making a string of saves, both from penalty corners and open play.

It was huge for the boys to finish 3rd and avoid the dreaded 4th place. In the end the team was rapt with its medal and pleased they had justified their third place seeding in the tournament.


Lastly thank you to everyone for all your emails and comments to the Men’s team throughout our Commonwealth Games campaign. We know we gave you some heart in the mouth moments none more so than our late equaliser against Canada.

But it was great to have so much support for such a big event and so far away from home. So from the Blacksticks men’s team we all THANK YOU!

In the end the boys were over the moon to come away with a Bronze Medal especially with beating England one of our biggest rivals and a team that we had not beaten since 2007.

Now it is time to relax with family and friends and enjoy and share our medal with everyone who helped us to achieve it!

Kind Regards,


Buddha’s Blog: Commonwealth Games #4


The Blackstick’s women were O for Awesome in their 1-0 semi-final win over South Africa yesterday.

They were extremely impressive with the way they took the game to South Africa and outplayed them in almost every area.

Beth Jurgeleit was outstanding in goal and 2 fantastic saves on the line from Emily Naylor kept the South Africans scoreless.

All the girls stuck to task and played well through out the game. It wasn’t until a 2nd half penalty corner that the NZ girls finally took the lead, with a corner break down that fell kindly to Clarisa Eshuis who coolly slotted the ball inside the near post!

The girls are assured of a medal their first major tournament medal since a Bronze medal in Kuala Lumpur 1998 and NZ Hockey’s first major tournament medal in 8 years when the Men won Silver in Manchester 2002.

This is a fantastic achievement for the girls and NZ Hockey. They have been the stand-out team of the tournament and the most consistent team here across all 10 teams.

The entire Blackstick’s Men’s team and the NZ Commonwealth Games team believe that the girls will take out Gold and topple the Australians in tomorrows final played at (13:00pm India Local Time, 20:30pm in NZ) I hope you are all watching!




For those of you who watched at home I am sure you would agree that a 2-6 defeat at the hands of defending champions and World No. 1 ranked Australia was not a fair reflection of the game.

For the entire 70 minutes we showed plenty of spirit in 40+ degree heat! We had an extremely good game-plan that threw the Aussies off balance and we took the game to them breaking through their much talked about press.

We let ourselves down in the small areas on the field. A few soft goals really let us down as at no stage can you be off your game against Australia and they proved this in a six-minute period just before half-time when they broke the 0-0 deadlock with 3 quick goals.

Even though we were down 0-4 midway through the 2nd half there was still belief in our side which hasn’t always been there in the past against Australia. Dean Cousins and Phil Burrows (2002 Commonwealth Games Silver Medallists) were instrumental in this area and they are both players when they say “come” everyone else naturally follows. This is a trait that is rarely found in people and I think our team are lucky to have the 2 of them.


Due to this belief we rallied in the 2nd half and staged a late fight-back with goals to Blair Hilton and Phil Burrows and we had another effort controversially disallowed to put the score to 3-4. Everyone except for the ref thought that this was a goal.

The belief was certainly there and we pressed hard in the last 5 minutes to try and score the goals we needed. In doing this we promoted more men forward and were caught out twice late in the game to go down 2-6, an unjust score to our efforts in the match.

If we play like we did against Australia with our desire and commitment in the Bronze medal play-off I am sure we will take the match out regardless of who we play!

But for now it is time to relax by the pool, and enjoy our day off and hopefully see the girls pull off GOLD! We also have a quiz night tonight which is always a bit of a laugh!

Thanks to all those who send their wishes to the team, everyone really appreciates them!

Kind Regards,